I'm not going to lie, the whole "book boyfriend" thing... well, it kind of creeps me out, to be honest.
Now, before anyone grabs their pitchforks, don't think that I'm trying to say that people who like to talk about their "book boyfriends" are weird or something, it's just that I guess it's a phenomenon that's not really for me.
That said, my real complaint with the concept of a "book boyfriend" isn't about the idea of being infatuated with a fictional character. Fictional crushes have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember! (Nerd alert: I had an enormous crush on Digimon Adventure 02's Ken Ichijouji when I was seven, to the point that I was destroyed when canon paired him with Yolei. Rough times, guys. Rough times.) But to me, the phrase "book boyfriend" is a bit creepy.
I don't know. To me, the words "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" imply a relationship, and the idea of having a relationship with a fictional character really takes the concept of a fictional crush too far for me. At that point, I kind of feel like I've fallen off the edge of fandom and down into crazy town. So while I'm sure pretty much no one means it this way, when I hear someone say "book boyfriend" or "book girlfriend", what I really hear is less "I have a crush on this fictional character" and more "this fictional character and I have a bond".
So from here on out, I'm not going to be talking about "book boyfriends"; I'm going to be using "fictional crush". It's semantics, I know, but honestly, I don't feel comfortable with the first term, so... deal?
Anyway! My criteria for a fictional crush? Well, I can fairly safely say that I don't think this is a topic that's going to reflect positively on me! If you happened to read what that nerd alert up their, you'll have caught that one of my childhood fictional crushes (the earliest and strongest I can remember) was a villain. Granted, he reformed before the end of the show... but I wasn't exactly pleased about that. The Digimon Emperor should have been my first clue that I had a bit of a thing for villains.
After Digimon Adventure 02, the whole villain attraction thing never went away. Diving right into insanity here, the next one that I can recall the onset of was--and I swear I'm not joking here--Yami Marik from Yu-Gi-Oh! For anyone familiar with his character, this should be either an incredibly amusing or disturbing fact--and bear in mind that this crush developed when I was around ten years old and may or may not have kicked off thanks to the Marik versus Mai duel. What I'm saying is that I was a strange little kid.
From there, there's really no getting around the fact that I like villains and antiheroes better. I will always prefer Yami Bakura or Seto Kaiba over Yugi Muto or Joey Wheeler; Sesshomaru or Naraku over Inuyasha or Miroku; Severus Snape, Draco Malfoy, or Lucius Malfoy over Remus Lupin, Harry Potter, or Sirius Black; and Kish or Deep Blue over Masaya (Tokyo Mew Mew).
Now, don't get me wrong. I like villains and antiheroes, but I don't enjoy the "Draco in Leather Pants" phenomenon. It irks me when a fandom or part of it attempts to paint a villainous character as "just misunderstood" or an antiheroic character as purely heroic. And it infuriates me when a character who by all definitions should be the work's villain is held up as the work's hero. Characters like Edward Cullen, Christian Grey, and Patch of Hush, Hush do nothing for me. Masking villainous behavior under the guise of romantic gestures is one of the quickest ways to Squick me, and after that, I check the fuck out.
But a character like Sylar (Heroes), the Joker, or Roger (Song of the Lioness) gets me every time.
So what about you? Hate villains and love heroes, sidekicks, and love interests? Let me know some of your fictional crushes in the comments below!